The Miami Dolphin’ 2019 season started out with a little uncertainty. Questions were raised about the ability of new head coach Brian Flores to bring his team together, especially in light of the fact that it had been gutted of talent during the pre-season. The more optimistic fans were hoping for a repeat of past over achievements under a new head coach.
It is perhaps fair to say that those uncertainties were put to rest in the worst possible way by the time they had finished losing 59-10 to the Baltimore Ravens. The game against the Ravens highlighted an issue that has been defined the Dolphins this season, the spirit is certainly willing, but the team lacks the depth or the teeth to all but the worst prepared teams in the NFL.
So, the Miami Dolphins are hardly having their best season. In fact, you can get odds of 50,000/1 on them for who will win the Super Bowl LIV and there is a weekly column dedicated to helping Miami Dolphins fans cope with the 2019 football season, called Miami Dolphins Therapy. That doesn’t mean the team is without talent, however.
There has been rampant speculation that the roster for the Dolphins had been deliberately gutted in order to thank the seasons, pulling in a host of trades and first-round draft picks in order to rebuild the team in 2020 and, to some extent, that has worked.
The trading of Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills to the Houston Texans brought in a mass of draft picks, which was supplemented by trading Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for another first-round draft pick.
That might also explain why Brian Flores, former Patriots linebackers coach, and the current first-time head coach, was given a full five-year contract despite his relative lack of experience. The Dolphins were being led into a deliberately rough year and Flores needed some assurances that he wouldn’t be shown the door if the tanking went to plan.
Whatever the plan is at the executive end, the reality is that the players won’t be going out there to lose. Roster spots are just in too high demand and no-one wants a reputation for giving anything less than 100%. So, in this article, we’ll be looking at the players who have stood out for the Dolphins so far this season, despite the results they’ve had to swallow.
While critics might point out that the Kenyan has not been good in 2019, the reality is that “good” is a concept that needs to be reconsidered for the Dolphins this season. With the loss of Laremy Tunsil, the Dolphins’ offensive line started with very little in the chamber, not the best position for a running back to be in.
However, if we take a look back over Drake’s history, there is plenty of evidence that he still has a lot to give the team. Drake averaged over 4.5 yards per carry in each of his first three seasons of pro-ball and his record over the 2017/2018 season makes it pretty clear that he is a premier pass catcher.
For a Dolphins team that has very few teeth, Drake represents one of their few offensive weapons that has yet to be traded away.
A consummate professional and stalwart for the Miami Dolphins defense, Reshad Jones could easily be described as one of the more underrated safeties in the National Football League. Obviously, the current state of the Dolphins defensive record, including the 2018 season, doesn’t reflect well on the players.
However, it also doesn’t detract from the fact that Jones is a smart and capable player. The veteran has struggled with injuries this season, but when he is healthy, he still has the chops to become a core part of a revitalized Miami defense.
When he was first taken in by the Dolphins as a first-round draft pick, Charles Harris created a lot of buzz. However, it’s fair to say that since then he hasn’t really ever lived up to the hype. The big man from Missouri hasn’t shown anything special in terms of box score or his rumored specialty of generating pressure.
However, with Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn no longer on the roster, Harris has started to come close to justifying his 2017 pick. On paper, his record still doesn’t look great, with three solo tackles, no sacks, and five assists in four games this season. However, he has consistently applied pressure in a manner not seen before this season and, while 2019 might be the worst season to choose for your breakout, it’s better than not doing it at all.
Much like Charles Harris, DeVante Parker is a player who has had very little impact prior to 2019. Unlike Harris, Parker’s stats for this season are quite encouraging and you don’t have to dig deeper to find value.
During the Dolphins’ 17-16 loss against the Redskins, Parker doubled his 2018 and 2017 touchdown total. This is a significant improvement over the two-total touchdowns in 24 games he had before the 2019 campaign began.
The former first-round pick is starting to show some flash with 13 receptions for 229 yards and a 17.6 average.
For most of his tenure at the Dolphins, Xavien Howard has come pretty close to earning the monster payday he signed on for and comes in as a healthy second place to Christian Wilkins in terms of Miami’s most valuable remaining asset.
The big cornerback has gone through spells of looking like one of the best players in the league since joining the Dolphins but has struggled with consistency. In the cutdown team of 2019, Howard has made a much larger impact and seems to be getting along better with the new direction put in place by the new coaching staff.
This sudden burst of consistency could either guarantee him a spot in the rebuilt Dolphins’ team or see him traded off on the strength of his performance this season to a team where he can make more of an impression.